Because some of us are definitely escaping this summer through books, we thought we’d publish an extended summer reading list.
In July, we shared some of our favourite reads on our radio show, with mini reviews by the Restart team. Here’s the full list we selected this summer.
Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World by Bruce Schneier
Schneier voices some of our worse – and previously most abstract – fears. As our world becomes increasingly connected and the Internet of Things grows, our lives as a whole become easier to hijack. Schneier does not just lay out all of the ways that our devices could be used against us in an attempt to fear monger. Rather, he sets out a path forward involving regulation and policy to adapt to this new way of life.
Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need by Sasha Costanza-Chock
Costanza-Chock follows the design process from origin to output. The book examines how design traditions have developed, how they interact with the world around them, and their socio-historical effects. It’s a great reminder of the importance of considering design as a political act and becoming aware that most devices and objects are not necessarily designed with everyone in mind.
Driven: a White-Knuckled Ride to Heartbreak and Back by Melissa Stephenson
At a time when many of us are confined to our houses, Stephenson’s book captures the freedom of travel and movement that many of us are missing. Spurred on by a tragic life event, her book details her journey toward acceptance and understanding. Chronicled according to the many vehicles that she has driven and repaired throughout her life, she considers all of the events that got her to where she is.
Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine by Hannah Fry
Fry’s book focuses on the increasing prevalence of decision-making algorithms in our daily lives and aims to inform us on how these may be influencing and shaping our society in unseen ways. While this book is not anti-algorithm, it’s an integral examination of how bias is built into these systems, both knowingly and unknowingly – simultaneously mimicking and advancing dangerous societal power structures.
Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan
Currently, the public consciousness is overloaded with fears of apocalypse, be it environmental, political, or pandemic induced. In Infinite Detail, Maughan imagines a scenario just as contemporary and tells the story of society in crisis once the internet shuts down forever. Beginning the novel in a world that very much reflects our own in its utter dependency on the internet makes the consequences of this event much more real.
Lo-TEK, Design by Radical Indigenism by Julia Watson
The book focuses on how we can learn from indigenous approaches to design in order to develop more sustainable infrastructure. The book operates more as an outsider’s view on how these concepts can be adapted. Still, Watson holds space for an important conversation about how TEK – or Traditional Ecological Knowledge, as coined by Eva Marie Garroute – can lead us to a positive change in our technological trajectory.
Mythos by Stephen Fry
Inspired by his childhood love of Greek mythology, in Mythos Stephen Fry retells the classic stories from Zeus to Athena. In his signature dry and witty style, Fry finds the comedy in these well-trodden tales. Also worth checking out the audiobook, read by Fry himself.
Realtime: Making in Digital China by Clément Renaud et al.
Sourcing observations from experts from multiple disciplines, Realtime takes a simultaneously visual and textual approach to presenting the reader with an understanding of the shifting technological landscape of China. Commenting on global perception of the industry, the book sheds light on its realities.
The Case for the Green New Deal by Ann Pettifor
Pettifor accentuates the fact that we desperately need true system change if we want to respond effectively to climate change. She calls for change to financial systems and the way that we are programmed in regards to consumption. This volume helps explain why activists should not underestimate the role of finance if we want to make a real impact.
There is No Planet B by Mike Berners-Lee
Berners-Lee moves beyond technology for answers in There is no Planet B. Rather, he details the drastic and global-scale measures that we are going to have to take as a society in order to continue. He emphasises the need for cooperation and empathy that the climate movement already greatly relies on.
[Photo credit: Syd Wachs]